How to stay safe during an earthquake
Though the GCC region lies in a relatively safe zone when it comes to earthquakes, slight tremors like the one yesterday, and the one last week, were enough to stir panic among people.
Concerns were raised about the safety of buildings in Qatar when tremors were felt in the country due to the earthquake that struck Iran on April 10. Old buildings might not be quake-resistant but experts in Qatar say that towers in the West Bay area are designed to resist a 4-magnitude earthquake. Read the full report here.
Here are some safety guidelines to help you be better prepared the next time there’s a tremor.
If you are indoors:
Don’t run from one room to another. Stay put.
Find the nearest table or desk and duck under for cover. If you cant find one, stay close to a wall without a window, get down on your knees and cover your head and neck. But make sure there are no overhead objects or cabinets nearby, as that might fall on you.
Don’t block doorways.
If in the kitchen, turn off your gas.
If you are outdoors:
Don’t run back indoors.
Stay away from buildings, poles, streetlights, signboards or trees. Never stand near the exterior walls as windows and facades are prone to collapse during an earthquake.
If you are in a car:
Don’t keep driving. Find a safe place to park, away from poles, overhead wires, streetlights, signboards, trees and flyovers, and stay in your car.
Yesterday many people hit to the road which created traffic jams in many parts of Doha.
If you are in a high-rise building:
If you are stuck inside, don’t run outside. Stay away from windows and walls that are likely to collapse. It’s best to hide under your work desk.
Only evacuate when you are told to.
Never take the elevators. Always use the emergency staircase.
Act quick when the siren sounds. Pack your belongings and leave immediately.
Do gather at the assembly point of your building (see pic below).
Don’t scatter yourselves and block entry and exit points of buildings (see pic below).
“Many people who were outside office during the tremors wanted to go back to office and collect their personal belongings in between the evacuation. They were upset when they were denied entry. This is not right because you are disrupting the evacuation process,” said an HSE officer at one of the companies in the West Bay area.
“Some people ran to get their cars out of the basement. That should not be the priority during an evacuation,” reported another.
If you are in a wheelchair:
Find a safe spot to wait and lock your wheels. Cover your head and neck with a pillow or book or use your hands.
If your kids are alone at home:
Tell them (or the nanny) to follow the instructions above (if you are indoors).
Tell them to dial 999 for any emergency.
Prepare an emergency kit:
Your emergency kit should comprise a supply of canned food, first aid kit, swiss army knife, at least one large sealed bottle of water (ideally you need to be carrying 11.4 litres of water per person during extreme situations), dust masks, goggles and flashlights. Keep one at home and one at your work place if possible. Keep a spare pair of comfortable shoes that you can slip into for better mobility. You don’t want to be climbing down 14 floors, in stilletos.
Also remember to carry the map of the city, a diary containing all emergency numbers and numbers of your near and dear ones, cash and your mobile.
Keep all your important documents at home safely in one bag to save time during evacuation.
Kahramaa has released its earthquake safety guidelines. Click here to read.
Is there anything more specific to Qatar you’d like to add?